Review: Day 115 on an Alien World by Jeanette Bedard

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“Mayday, mayday, mayday.”


Synopsis

A dishonourable discharge left Margo unable to find honest work on Earth. Signing onto a colonizing mission heading to a new world promised a fresh start. Or at least that’s what she’d thought.

Strapped into a crashing colony ship, she realized how wrong she’d been.


My Thoughts

Reading this brought me to the conclusion that I don’t read enough sci-fi, and I crave it even when I don’t realize I’m craving it. Day 115 on an Alien World is an interstellar mystery/thriller set on a planet deemed hospitable for colonization by Earth’s inhabitants. It’s fast-paced, and has a cast of characters who are all suspicious to one another and the reader.

The book is written with a few timelines: once the crash happens on the planet, events that took place before the colonization team was even assembled, and day 115 on. These are not hard to keep track of, and much of the storytelling is done from the perspectives of different individuals, whether from journal entries, or memories of significant events.

There is a deeply seeded suspicion on many different individuals once accidents begin taking the form of possible sabotage, but these suspicions come from the mind of the individual whose timeline and perspective you are following at the time. It is up to you, the reader, to make assumptions and find probable cause based on your own over-arching knowledge of what has, and is, taking place.

I had a lot of fun reading this and trying to solve the mystery before the author did it for me. It’s exciting to draw your own conclusions and make a guess early on, seeing if it will stick, or if you ‘jumped the gun’ too early. At least that’s how I tend to read mysteries. There is just something slightly ominous about reading journal entries and logs long after they’ve been written. There is an underlying creepiness to them, as if you are reading the words of a person no longer capable of communicating why they aren’t writing new entries anymore.

One of my favorite aspects of this book doesn’t really have anything to do with the thrill of the hunt, though. I enjoyed reading about each element that was meticulously planned out in order to make colonization a successful venture. Each person on this mission has a specialty that renders itself absolutely necessary for short and long-term survival. The science involved in producing sustainable oxygen, clean water, and food is fascinating. This was just an extremely fun read, and I didn’t want it to end.

I would like to mention that this book was a Netgalley find. For any of you who regularly read and review through this website, you may understand how uncommon it can be to find a book you absolutely loved to the core, and even gave a 5 star rating to. Not saying the website is littered with ‘bad books’ but rather that in a way, you are choosing a book based solely on a combination of synopsis and cover, maybe a familiar author. There isn’t really any room for influence by peers or hype, unless of course you are reviewing a much anticipated release. I tend to gravitate towards the lesser known books, the ones whose authors I’ve never heard of, the ones that may not be getting requests by the hundreds, or thousands. So, maybe it’s just in my experience and requesting habits that finding a really wonderful read can tend to be uncommon. IDK. Maybe I’m ranting.

Anyways! I would like to thank Netgalley, author Jeanette Bedard, and the publishers at BooksGoSocial for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I truly enjoyed the book.

If any of you are interested in reading 115 Days on an Alien World, the book is set to release on April 2 of 2019. You can find the Goodreads page here.


Thanks for reading! What science fiction books can you recommend? I’d love to read some of your favorites!

Review: Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

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“Slicing through every social norm, evading capture with superhuman ease, and preying on the small, the vulnerable, and the trusting, Avery had swept down like the angel of death and pulled a pin out of his family. Then he hadn’t even stuck around to watch it explode.”

4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery.

So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer.


My Thoughts

For a mystery/ crime thriller, Blacklands was definitely one of those books that has you wondering what’s going to happen next, while not noticing the slow building, anxiety inducing stress that has crept into your mind, because deep down you do know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s delicious.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the fascinating narrative. Points of view switch between Steven, Arnold Avery, and Stephen’s mother, although the latter is brief. SO, we’ll just focus on Steven and Arnold.

This is a beautifully done ‘cat-and-mouse’ game written from the perspective of the intellectual mind. That is, without much dialogue happening, the narrative is almost strictly written from the perspective of the conscious and subconscious mind. Each is trying to figure the other out, while maintaining the illusion that the game isn’t about ultimately getting what one wants from the other in the end. And the game can have deadly consequences for each.

Some may find that the story is a bit slow, but I think that’s where you’ll discover the whole point of the book. This book is NOT about what happens at the end, because the end can go one of two ways. No, this book is 100 percent about the chase, and the study of each individual as they move their pieces in a game of chess.

I would highly recommend this to any fans of the mystery/thriller genre. It’s different, and it’s absolutely a fascinating story. You can find the Goodreads page here.


Thanks for reading! What’s your favorite genre to read?

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)

“As I breathe, I pledge.”

5/5 Stars


Synopsis

Charlaina “Charlie” lives in Ludania, a country ruled bu a cruel monarch and strictly stratified by a caste system divided by language. The smallest transgression results in immediate death.

But Charlie has lived her whole life with a secret so dangerous that if anyone found out, she’d be killed. As the violent clashes between the totalitarian monarchy and the rebel forces escalate, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger.


My Thoughts

I thought this book was so well written, and the story captivating. The book is a young adult, dystopian/SF and follows Charlie throughout the chaotic world she lives in. The atmosphere is dark and oppressive, giving the reader a somewhat constant sense of dread and impending danger. I wasn’t exactly ‘on the edge of my seat’ but I definitely realized I was willing myself to read faster to match pace with how the characters felt in certain situations.

The world building was a bit lacking in that we get more about the mood and spirit of the different parts of this city than a queendom that is fully fleshed out to its full potential. I thought a map might have been helpful to have while traversing different areas of flight with the characters, but overall I certainly enjoyed the reading experience.

The characters are interesting and full of ideology that incites both danger and excitement. The author does a really great job of giving the reader a feel for this world through the characters, and the feeling lends itself perfectly to how individuals are affected by the caste system.

The Pledge is the first book in a trilogy, one which I am looking forward to continuing with very soon. But while I am really excited to continue with book 2, I did think that this one would have done perfectly well as a standalone without the need to continue on as a series. I guess my feelings on that topic will depend entirely on how well the rest of the series does. In case you’re interested in reading more, you can find the Goodreads page here.


Thanks for reading!